It is going to be hard for Wenger to survive the mauling at Old Trafford. Yes, they had problems and injuries, but it is so evident, and it has been for so long, that their biggest weakness is the defensive side of their midfield and the defense itself.
Even their first choice backline and center backs are average. Vermaelen is ok, but he’s not stellar. The 2nd string are probably not even Premier League quality. Djorou and Koscielny were an absolute nightmare trying to play a high line without any kind of disciplined shape. The famous back four led by Tony Adams, so proficient at playing a high line and strangling attacks by how in step they were, would have been watching today in disgust.
But it wasn’t just the woefully inadequate rearguard that was at fault. Today there were runners streaming through midfield at will with so little tracking from the Arsenal midfield, which makes it very hard for a back four to keep their discipline and shape. It’s hard to say which was the biggest problem.
So all of this begs the question, why did Wenger spend £12 million on an 18 year old winger who has only played in England’s third tier? He could have bought a quality defensive midfielder or center back for that. There is apparently £90 million in the coffers, so why are they playing such hard ball with the Cahill signing? Boy, they could have used him today! It also takes time for defensive units to bed in, so why wait until the season is well under way before strengthening these areas. It is clear negligence from Wenger. They haven’t really been strong in the defensive spine of the team (center backs/defensive midfield) for six years. The Invincible team had Campbell, Toure, Gilberto and Vieira in these crucial roles. Plenty of experience, strength and defensive instinct there.
Can Wenger not see that this was a bedrock of his former success? Seems like no. I think the Arsenal fans now calling for his head have a point. Not because of today’s result purely, but because this has gone on for far too long.
One ray of light, Szczezny was superb, even in an 8-2 reverse!